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Interview

The Frederik thrills Mau5trap and UKF alike with his unique brand of electro house

By Dan Carter
TheFrederik

Danish newcomer The Frederik was scoped in his industrious infancy by Mau5trap, and propelled forward by his single “Delirium,” his leaps and bounds across global clubland have come in the form of an unapologetically technical take on the bass-heavy buoyancy of modern electro house.

A sprinkle of underground aptitude and a broken hand have served the young producer well in his early footsteps, as he cozies up with the likes of UKF founder Luke Hood and his Pilot Records imprint, making 2013 a year for the taking. Beatport News grilled The Frederik on his recent Heavy Crownage EP and being a scion of the Bang & Olufsen legacy.

As a classically trained musician and a descendant of the founder of Bang & Olufsen, how did the pieces fit to push you towards pursuing a career in electronic music?

As for the musical angle of things, it actually took me years of experimentation before I was able to implement my theoretical knowledge. Given that electronic music was so new to me at the time, I wanted to start from nothing in order to give myself 100% to this world. Today, however, as natural as it comes to me, it is essential that I carefully get around all my perplex ideas without things getting messy, as I strive to make more than just dance music. I want to depict a story, to push my listeners to feel something specific, relate and eventually realize that there is something bigger than ourselves.

Was Denmark a particularly positive place to develop as an artist, and did you take anything from your time there that has served you considerably within your career?

While Copenhagen might not offer the biggest opportunities or the biggest crowds, we have a very vibrant underground scene. I’m truly amazed to see how big the scene has grown over the last years, and I’m actually in the works of establishing a quarterly event called The Frederik Presents, featuring bigger and major names and giving room for aspiring producers to try their hand at a bigger audience. In Denmark, we have this cultural legacy and phenomenon called The Law of Jante, which basically goes, “You’re not to think you’re anything special. You’re not to think you’re as good as us. You’re not to think you’re smarter than us.” Though I believe this to be utterly bullshit, it has certainly also done good, too, as it set a high threshold to creative types for the hard-to-please Danish crowds.

Your have a unique low-end heavy electronica sound. How do you respond to the current popularity surrounding electronic music, and has this altered or had an impact upon your ethos or approach to the music you make?

Due to my age, I only really got into electronic music a couple of years before it exploded, but I believe that (almost) all exposure is good exposure. The only con is that the accessibility to make this kind of music is so easy that people who aren’t electronic-music enthusiasts may look down upon the genre, as it has a vast amount of shit. But everybody has to start somewhere!

Given the current emphasis surrounding genre categories and boundaries, is this an element of the creative process you pay much attention to as an artist, or has avoiding them become paramount to you?

I’m really not that full-on genre Nazi. My heart beats for four on the floor, but I love all great bass music in any tempo. I may be establishing myself as a so-called electro-house artist, but it is only a matter of time before my own sound is recognized enough that my productions won’t be a matter of genres or tempo.

Tell us a bit about your approach to “Delirium” and how Mau5trap came to pick it up?

In late 2011, I acquired myself a broken hand, which led to a lot of studio time. I was able to do a two-track demo, which laid the foundation of my sound today. This was the demo that sparkled Mau5trap’s attention at ADE the same year. It became clear to me that I finally had found my niche, or at least begun my venture into it. “Delirium” followed as I was trying out NI Reaktor; I wanted to do something I had never heard before, and this was at the time for me the biggest focus on sound design I had ever had.

You just debuted on Luke Hood’s Pilot Records with the Heavy Crownage EP. Tell us about the new EP and how you found joining the ranks of the UKF founder.

After meeting them back in October (the same conference where I was spotted by Mau5trap the year before), my gut feeling told me that this was the place for my future musical endeavors. The idea was to try and create exactly what was going on in my head, without any over-analyzed or popular bullshit. Every tune had to be more than just a track—aggressive, nifty on the dancefloor, but still with a major focus on symphonic exposure. For instance, I’d build up a melody throughout a breakdown, using the tonal tension and melodic crescendo as build-up rather than turn to cheesy snare rolls or relying on reversed white noise. The EP is an introduction into my sound, where I really don’t see any reason why melody should be restricted to the breakdown only, but instead naturally progress throughout the entire track.

Your tour schedule has picked up considerably of late. Has the balance between studio work and touring been a particularly tough one for you?

I am a huge sucker for hardware. My studio setup currently consist of two computers, a modular Doepfer, analog distortion racks, a Virus Access, the Juno 106, a vintage Korg synth from before it was even Korg, and a custom-built circuit bend/distortion unit—not to mention the mixers and all the cables! Of course, having this mindset isn’t the most practical when touring, as though I’m comfortable making ideas on the run, I really don’t see myself finishing an entire track this way—it just doesn’t always work for me.

Your next single is set to drop in April. Tell us a bit about this track and what else we can expect from you for the next few months?

I have a three- or four-track EP coming out on No Tomorrow, a brand-new sister label of Never Say Die. The style of the new EP will be a bit darker and heavier-hitting than the Heavy Crownage EP, more in the vein of “Delirium.” The EP sees a bigger focus on sound design, and I might even say for one of the tracks it is even the foundation, but all while leaving room for some euphoria.